Posted in Monitoring
Do you own an online store or an online booking site? Are you loosing revenue due to problems with the availability and performance of you applications? If you want to make sure that everything is working correctly and not finding out about slow response times and downtimes from your clients, you can use one of our application levels of monitoring.
If you choose to use our performance of full-page transaction level of monitoring, one of the ways to record and upload your transactions will be by using our transaction recorder extension for Mozilla Firefox.
So if you click on the transaction recorder, you will be able to add this extension to your Firefox browser.
Once you install the add-on, you will see the transaction recorder toolbar right above the tabs in your browser.
So, to start recording a transaction, all you have to do is go to the page from which you want to begin recording and press the Record button. You will be asked whether you want to start recording from the current page you are on. Click the Yes button.
This recorded transaction will record any request your browser makes. This means that if you have other websites opened in other tabs (e.g. Facebook, Google Drive, etc.), the recorder might accidently record requests made by these other applications and add additional steps to your transaction. So, to make sure you avoid problems which might render your transaction useless the best option will be to close all other tabs and leave a single tab open when using the recorder extension.
Once you have started recording, all you have to do is follow the desired scenario for the transaction. When you are done, simply press the Stop button to end the recording. If you want to see exactly what you have recorded, you can click the Play button and the transaction will be played in your browser.
If you are not happy with the results, and you want to start all over, you can always press the Reset button and delete the transaction which you have previously recorded.
You can save the recorded transaction in a XML file on your hard drive by clicking the Save button. If, for some reason, you are not able to record the transaction correctly by yourself, you can send us the specific XML file as well as a written description of the transaction, and our developers will review and fix the transaction for you. You can also use the Open button to open a specific transaction later on.
To upload the recorded transaction in your account, you will have to fill in the options details first.
Posted in Monitoring
If you want to generate a report regarding a specific target and you know the type of data you are looking for, you can use our Report Wizard to get the desired results. Since we have hundreds of different reports, if you are new to the system or you have not used the reports’ section yet, the easiest way to get the data needed is to use the report wizard.
To get to the Report Wizard, go to the Reports section of the control panel. There are basically 4 major types of reports which you can generate:
- Uptime statistics
- Logs and summaries
- Multiple locations reports
- Status History
Depending on the type of data you want to visualize, you have to pick one of these types to start with.
The Uptime Statistics report will provide you with charts and data regarding the total number of checks that were performed for a specific target and the number of failures we detected. Here is a sample report:
You can generate uptime statistics reports that contain a chart, text data or both. You can choose these reports to show the data for a specific location or for all locations used to monitor your target. The report will only show monthly data and you can choose a starting month and an ending month.
The Logs and Summaries reports look like this:
There are 6 different subtypes of these reports you can choose from. The picture above shows a monthly log (day-by-day) report. You can also choose to generate Daily log, Daily errors report, Daily status summary, Weekly log and Weekly errors report.
Once you select the target you will need to choose from 5 types of visualization:
- Text Data
- Text & Data
- Extended Chart
- Extended Chart and Data
Depending on your choice, you can get the information you require in a way that is suitable for your needs.
This report can only be generated for a specific location. You cannot generate this report for all locations (in case you have more than 1 location monitoring a specific target).
Lastly, you will be asked to select a starting date for the report. If you are generating a daily report, you should enter the date you want the report to be generated for.
Multiple locations reports look like this:
There are 4 distinctive subtypes you can choose from for the multiple locations reports:
- Average response times (seen in the picture above)
- Hourly response times
- PING Statistics
Once you select the starting day for the report you can choose the period of the report. We allow daily and weekly reports to be generated.
You can also generate Status History reports:
These reports can also only be generated for specific locations. They only show the monthly data but keep in mind that we keep the status history data since the creation of the target, so you can generate such reports for any period as long as the target has been running during those periods.
Once you generate a report at the top left-hand corner, you will find a location drop down menu from which you can change the monitoring location. If you change the location, the report will refresh and show the correct data.
At the bottom of the report, you will find more options.
You will be able to change the starting and ending dates of the reports. In order for those changes to take effect, you will need to press the Generate Report button.
If you want to email the report to yourself or someone else, you can do so by pressing the Email this report button and fill in the details.
Once you generate the report, you want and you need to generate the same report again in the future you can always add that report to your favorites reports by clicking on the add to favorites button. If you go to the favorite reports section after that you will be able to generate the report by simply clicking on a single link.
I have already reviewed the test tools extension and the transaction recorder extension, so I’m not going to introduce you to our current status extension. Once you have installed it, you should be able to see its icon on the top right-hand corner of your browser:
So basically once you configure the extension, you will be able to see the targets in your account status directly from this plugin. If you want to see the most current status, you need to press the Refresh button.
The Display button will allow you to display all the targets you have configured in your account or only the active ones. The extension can only show the targets that are down right now or are OK. You can only view the suspended targets or the targets with a warning status.
The last available option is to view the targets data that is down and the targets that have a warning status only. There are two options for the order of the targets – Label and Status. If you go with the Oder by label option, the targets will be shown in an alphabetical order. If you go with the Order by status option, we will show the down targets first, then the targets with a warning status, then targets that are OK, and lastly the suspended targets.
In order to configure the correct credentials for this extension, you have to click on the Options button:
You have to enter your username and your account's API key. If you do not have an account with us, follow the Create New WebsitePulse account and sign up for our 30 days free trial.
To get your API key, simply click on the Requst API key link. If you are not logged into your online control panel, you will be asked to do so first.
Once you fill in those details, you will have to select the refresh time interval for the specific extension. You can choose from 4 different refresh intervals: 10 min, 15 min, 30 min and 1 hour.
In order to be notified when any of your targets change their status, you should enable the notifications. Just remember to click Save at the end so that your settings’ changes are recorded correctly.
The Help button will give you some additional information regarding this specific extension.
So far I have shown you how to install and use our three different Chrome extensions, so now I'm moving on to how to remove them.
Go to the Chrome menu and then go to Tools:
If you don't want to remove the extension completely but only the icon, you can enable and disable the extensions from here.
You can also permanently delete the extensions by pressing the Delete icon next to them. When you disable them, they do not use any resources, so you do not have to permanently delete them if you intend to use them in the future.
We also offer similar extensions for Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera and Safari browsers. I will be reviewing those solutions soon.
I have already reviewed our Chrome transaction recorder extension in a previous post where I explained into detail how to record a transaction using this specific extension. Now it’s time to look at our Test tools and Current Status Chrome extension, so stay tuned.
To get to Chrome web store, go to menu -> tools -> extensions or follow this link - chrome.google.com/webstore.
When you do a search for WebSitePulse, all three of our extensions will be shown:
To add an extension to your browser, simply click on the + FREE button.
In order to instantly test your websites and servers directly from your Chrome browser from 3 of our monitoring locations (Seattle, USA; Munich, Germany; Brisbane, Australia), you have to install our Test Tools extension.
If you are interested in knowing if the targets in your account are working correctly and need to be notified whether the status of the targets changes, you should install our Current Status application.
Once you install the applications, you will see them on the top right-hand corner of the browser. The first icon is the Test Tools extension icon. If you click on it,
the Test Tools extension will open. You can choose between 4 different types of tests.
The HTTP tests allow you to check websites which use either HTTP or HTTPS protocols.
You can choose 4 different HTTP/HTTPS tests from the perform drop down menu:
- Website Test – We will connect to the server and download only the HTML source code of the page in question
- Web Page test – We will do the website test and also check the links in the HTML source code for availability and download speed. We will check the images, frames, etc. so you will know if you have any broken links, for example. We will provide you with detailed information regarding the DNS resolve times, connect times, redirect times, first byte, last byte and total response time and size of each component.
- HTTP headers test – We will connect to your server and get the headers your server return and show them to you.
- China Firewall Test – if you select this option, you will be able to run website tests from three of our Chinese locations – Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai.
The DNS tab -
will let you run the following DNS test:
- Hostname test
- MX lookup
- NS records lookup
- SPF lookup
- Reverse DNS
- Blacklist Check
Find out more about our DNS monitoring level.
The Service tab -
allows you to check the availability and response times of any TCP/UDP-based services. You can specify the port on which the services are running. You can choose the following protocols: http://, https://, ftp://, smtp://, pop://, imap://, ssh://, telnet://, dns://, custom://.In short, this is the test section you should consider to make sure the specific service is working and a connection can be opened on the specific port.
The last tab is the Network tab:
You can troubleshoot network problems using the tests available in this section. You can run the following tests:
- WHOIS – gives your information regarding the owner and/or administrator of a specific domain name and can also provide you with contact information of those people.
- IP/Network Lookup – basically the same as WHOIS, except it’s not for domain names but for IPs/Netowrks.
- MTR – This is one of the most useful tests when you try to pinpoint packet loss and problems on the route between your servers and our locations. It combines the PING and the Traceroute test and can give you information exactly which router or device is causing the problems.
If you have an account with us, you can also run these tests and more from the Test tools section. You can use all of our 40 locations and not just the three available for this extension.
Posted in Tech
Valentine’s Day ended a bit gloomy for retailers this year, although sales increased by 8% during the last week of 14th of February and online traffic and online sales were still up compared to 2013.
USEcomony.about.com stated that The National Retail Federation predicted lower sales ($17.3 billion) in 2014 compared to last year’s $18.6. The reason behind was that only 54% of Americans bothered to celebrate with their beloved ones while last year they were 60%.
It’s interesting to note, however, that although overall sales during the Valentine’s shopping fever were not as high as they were hoped to be, online traffic increased over 2013, according to MultiChannelMerchant.com. More specifically, mobile traffic went up 39.6% compared to last year along with mobile sales that were up 42.9%. In addition, smartphones contributed 23.3% of the online traffic and 5.6% of the online sales, tablets – 13.3% with 11.4% of all online sales.
The aftermath: The money spent during the Valentine’s period may have decreased, but online traffic and online sales have gone up. And as we have quoted prweb.com before, "consumers spoke loud and clear with their time and wallets in 2013, telling the market that gains by online retailers were no accident.” This means that online purchasing is becoming more popular regardless of occasions and merchandise. Therefore, apart from the quality of the merchandise, the availability and performance of a website are the most important features a prospect client can look for. Retailers must remember that customers purchase online because it’s faster and easier. If a website does not load fast enough or is not available 24/7, it becomes completely worthless.
We monitored 7 of the most popular websites for purchasing gifts for the beloved ones to see how they handled the heavy traffic load during the St. Valentine’s shopping fever – from January 31st until February 16th, 2014. And here’s how they performed:
The performance of the websites is measured by 'response time’. The average response time during the monitoring period varied between 5.38 (harryanddavid.com) and 16.50 seconds (vermontteddybear.com). Our records show that the latter scored high delays in loading pages several times during the monitoring period, which brought its average response time up to 16 seconds. It is quite possible that while visitors were trying to select a gift and/purchase it, the specific page was not loading properly and failed to process the request, which could translate into revenue loss and irritated customers.
Availability, on the other hand, is measured by ‘uptime’ which shows whether the website was up and running while visitors were browsing in it and processing transactions. This time, only one of the monitored targets scored 100% uptime, while the lowest uptime was 96.896%. The rest of the websites did very good indeed – 98% and 99% of uptime.
See the infographic below for details, or go to the full report.